Sword and the Script

The folly of public relations measurement

Photo credit:  Flickr

Photo credit: Flickr

by Frank Strong

Measuring public relations results is fast becoming my pet peeve. Not the act of actual measurement, but the conversation around it.

It seems everyday now I read a new article penned by a well-intended PR expert that says counting clips is sophomoric and advocates an ambiguous need for PR need to “tie results to business outcomes.”

So what’s the peeve with that? It’s all fine, well and dandy except few pundits provide concrete examples of business outcomes. I’ve been to business school. I can discount cash flow, calculate IRR (or NPV if you’d prefer) and can argue at length the PR industry’s misuse of the term “ROI.” For the record, ROI is a financial term, where the benefit of an investment exceeds the cost of investment…quite literally it’s the “return” on the “investment.” ROI is empirical and measured in dollars and cents. My sense is, PR people use ROI interchangeably with the word, “benefit.” In other words, they’ve “repositioned” ROI.

But I digress: It’s one thing to bash clip counts or advertisement equivalencies (AVE), but if you are going to downplay one approach you need to provide examples of better approaches. Let me give you an example. Read More…

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